On Tuesday, the U.S. Postal Service will issue the Lena Horne Forever stamp.
The 41st issuance in the Black Heritage series honors the legacy of Lena Horne:
Horne began her career as a dancer at Harlem’s Cotton Club and later became a featured vocalist with touring orchestras. The rampant racial discrimination she encountered from audiences, hotel and venue managers and others was so disconcerting that she stopped touring, and in 1941, she made her move to Hollywood. A year later, she signed a contract with MGM — one of the first long-term contracts with a major Hollywood studio — with the stipulation that she would never be asked to take stereotypical roles then available to black actors. Her most famous movie roles were in “Cabin in the Sky” and “Stormy Weather,” both released in 1943.
During World War II, Horne entertained at camps for black servicemen, and after the war worked on behalf of Japanese Americans who were facing discriminatory housing policies. She worked with Eleanor Roosevelt in pressing for anti-lynching legislation. In the 1960s, Horne continued her high-profile work for civil rights, performing at rallies in the South, supporting the work of the National Council for Negro Women, and participating in the 1963 March on Washington.
On Horne’s passing in 2010, President Barack Obama said:
Over the years, she warmed the hearts of countless Americans with her beautiful voice and dramatic performances on screen. From the time her grandmother signed her up for an NAACP membership as a child, she worked tirelessly to further the cause of justice and equality. In 1940, she became the first African American performer to tour with an all white band. And while entertaining soldiers during World War II, she refused to perform for segregated audiences – a principled struggle she continued well after the troops returned home.
From sultry Selina Rogers in “Stormy Weather” …
… to sweet Georgia Brown in “Cabin in the Sky” …
… and Glinda, the Good Witch in “The Wiz,” the legendary performer entertained millions.
Horne’s activism and willingness to speak truth to power inspired millions, including the writer.
The trailblazer and civil rights activist will be in the public’s memory forever.
The First Day of Issue Stamp Dedication Ceremony
will be was held at Symphony Space in New York City. The Lena Horne Forever stamp is on sale nationwide at post offices and online at The Postal Store.
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets for the second Women's March.
White women came out in droves. But when push comes to shove, race trumps gender. It's worth remembering that 52 percent of white women voted for Trump.
In the Alabama senate election, 57 percent of white women voted for alleged sexual predator Roy Moore. By contrast, black women overwhelmingly supported Doug Jones.
African Americans in Alabama voted to save themselves. In so doing, they powered the Democratic candidate to victory in the heart of Dixie. Black women are flexing their power and organizing Power Rising Summit:
Black women of all backgrounds, experience, and expression will gather for Power Rising: Building an Agenda for Black Women, an historic summit that will build an actionable agenda that leverages our individual and collective power and influence for the advancement of ourselves, our families, our communities and our future.
The Summit will be organized around five key pillars of activism and engagement: Business & Economic Empowerment; Culture, Community, and Society; Education, Technology, and Innovation; Health & Wellness; and Political Empowerment. Not since the Combahee River Collective statement was written some 40 years ago have Black women gathered to create an agenda that explicitly addresses the unique intersectionality of Black women.
Power Rising 2018 will be held February 23-25 in Atlanta, Ga. For information on how to register to attend the summit, visit www.powerrising.org.
It’s your birthday. It’s your birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As a lifelong activist, I celebrate you every day.
Still, I look forward to the annual smorgasbord of events. This year, I got the party started at the Riverside Church New York City where on April 4, 1967, Dr. King delivered his anti-war speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.”
The tribute honoring Dr. King featured songs and readings from his writings and speeches.
One of the most moving moments was listening to an excerpt from Dr. King’s last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” While I’ve heard the speech numerous times, the sound system gave the words an immediacy and newness. Indeed, at times I was nodding my head and saying “Amen” as if I were in Mason Temple with Dr. King. An archived webcast of the program is available here.
I later checked out the Arthur Mitchell exhibition at Columbia University’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery.
The assassination of Dr. King inspired the legendary ballet dancer to co-found the Dance Theater of Harlem. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Mitchell shared his greatest accomplishment:
That I actually bucked society, and an art form that was three, four hundred years old and brought black people into it.
Harlem’s ballet trailblazer was a great dancer who also served the community. The free exhibit runs through March 11. For more information, visit the Wallach Art Gallery.
September 24 marked the first anniversary of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, more affectionately known as my home away from home.
From Day One, NMAAHC has had the people’s stamp of approval. In its first year, the museum has welcomed nearly three million visitors. Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the museum, said:
We are so grateful to America for making this first year unprecedentedly successful. This first anniversary gives us at the Smithsonian the opportunity to thank everyone for this incredible gift and for making it possible to continue our mission to help America grapple with history by seeing their past through an African American lens – and ultimately help Americans find healing and reconciliation.
NMAAHC has received the stamp of approval of the U.S. Postal Service which issued the “Celebrating African American History and Culture” Forever stamp.
The numbers show that the National Museum of African American History and Culture is a gift to the American people:
For more info, check out “NMAAHC’s First Year by the Numbers.”